By Donna Lind, Mayor, City of Scotts Valley
This spring, City Council held public workshops to discuss the City’s long-standing strategic goals. City Manager Mali LaGoe, led the Council through a series of questions and discussion topics to update and prioritize staff’s focus to achieve the listed goals. Metrics were developed to measure progress.
Following the workshops, staff identified strategies and tactics for each of the Council’s four goals. Funding for each of the goals was included in the City’s budget approved in June for fiscal year 2022-2023. As we enter September, significant progress has already been made.
The City’s first goal is to ensure long-term financial stability.
This year, the City is developing an economic indicators dashboard, where staff can closely track economic trends that could impact the City’s overall financial health. This dashboard will provide early indicators if revenue trends aren’t meeting forecasts and allow time for the City to make adjustments as needed. In addition, the City is tackling its CalPERS pension unfunded liability.
A council subcommittee was created last month to work with staff and the City’s financial advisors to study potential strategies. A recommended plan will come back to the City Council before the holidays. Finally, the City will conduct a fee study in preparation for next year’s budget. The study will reassess the actual costs to process various applications to match fees with current costs when preparing the next budget.
The City’s second goal relates to economic development.
On this front, the City has renewed our commitment to the Town Center. The land next to Skypark has been evaluated for environmental contamination that occurred decades ago. A plan for cleanup has been submitted to County Environmental Health for approval. A fence surrounding the vacant land will be erected to ensure no new contamination occurs.
Recently the State mandated the City build 1,220 additional homes for the next 8-year Housing Element cycle beginning 2024. The City has begun the planning process and the Town Center site is an important project to align with the mandates. In the meantime, staff are implementing a new software solution to streamline building permits; supporting Target’s opening, the community theater’s opening; and working on several proposed development projects.
The City’s third goal focuses on operational enhancements and efficiency.
Utilizing federal ARPA funding, the City is implementing major upgrades to its technology infrastructure and facilities. The modular office building at the Public Works facility is on target for demolition this fall, making room for a new building. Several technology projects are underway to improve staff’efficiency as well as enhance public service.
The Council Chambers will be upgraded with built-in cameras and microphones to support hybrid meetings and live-streaming. Like most construction projects, supply chain issues are stretching these timelines but we’re pushing forward as quickly as possible. A new survey tool called FlashVote was launched last month for real-time citizen feedback on City services.
The first survey addressed the City’s website and asked residents to share feedback that will be used to design a new City website that will go live in 2023. More surveys will be sent periodically as the City rebuilds services and prioritizes projects. Residents can sign up to participate in future 1-minute surveys at Flashvote.com/scottsvalley
The final goal captures the reason we all love Scotts Valley, our quality of life.
This goal prioritizes police services, parks and recreation and what I’ll simply call, community spirit. I’m proud to say that while other cities are losing Police Officers, our Police Department is almost back to fully staffed, thanks to community support of Measure Z! We’ve reinstated our motorcycle patrol and our K9 unit, welcoming K9 Xena to the team.
Through contracts with professional service providers, our fields, parks and medians are being restored to regular maintenance schedules. With new staffing, parks and recreation programs and major capital projects are restarting. The City renewed its support for the Theater Guild with a new $1 a year lease and a $95,000 contribution to the improvements that have been made. With the library reopened and the theater soon to open, the community has new spaces to gather, connect and celebrate.
The City is in rebuilding mode and the strategic plan is on track to deliver both behind-the-scenes and very visible improvements over the remaining 9 months of the fiscal year. From new playground equipment and a new website to the completion of the General Plan and starting the planning process for State-mandated Housing, the whole City team is focused on the making the future bright in Scotts Valley. For more information about the City’s strategic plan, please visit the website at scottsvalley.gov.
Donna Lind is the mayor of Scotts Valley. Reach her at [email protected] or call 831-438-4187.